Anime NYC, Day Three

The last day of NYCC is usually the quietest, and it proved to be the same with Anime NYC, as I only had one panel to go to. As a result I took the time to go through Artist’s Alley up at the top of the Javits, which was filled with talented art from talented artists and also more My Hero Academia stuff than you can shake a stick at. Anyone who doubts it’s not the biggest Jump title out there needs to look again. After that I took one last pass through the dealer’s room, and then went to room camp before the Vertical panel.

Unfortunately Windows 10 caused my computer to dump what I had been typing, so I can’t tell you who was running the panel before Vertical. It was on cosplay basics and advice, and it seemed like good advice – I liked the discussion about how you shouldn’t put your hair in a bun when wearing a wig, as it will always show. After this we got Vertical’s panel, which had a long AV setup, and also reminded me that it just feels weird to have a panel without Ed.

Vertical only had one new announcement, and it’s for Tsutomu Nihei’s latest manga, APOSIMZ, aka Ningyou no Kuni. It runs in Shonen Sirius, and features many of the themes Nihei is known for – if you’ve read BLAME! and Knights of Sidonia, you know what you’re getting here. Also like Knights of Sidonia, there is apparently the occasional delve into lowbrow humor – I remarked several times that Sidonia sometimes felt like a harem comedy.

The Nekomonogatari (Black) novel was for sale at the con ahead of street (in fact, a lot longer ahead of street than I expected, as the release date got pushed back to December 19th yesterday), and so a lot of the people in the audience were there for Monogatari. Vertical did have a treat for them – the rough draft and final version of VOFAN’s North American cover art for Nekomonogatari (White), which should be out at the end of January unless that gets delayed a bit as well. It features Black Hanekawa and the Tiger monster who is the book’s main antagonist, and looks fabulous – VOFAN called it his best work.

The rest of the panel consisted of raffles and giveaways – there was a lot of nice stuff raffled off, though I didn’t win anything. After that it was time to bid the con farewell and head home. For a first-year con it was excellent, and you could tell that the showrunners were seasoned pros. I hope we get to see it again next year, as I’ll definitely make plans!

Anime NYC, Day Two

Day 2! Though first, I missed an announcement from Day 1: Mangagamer has finished Golden Fantasia Cross, and it will be out in December. This is an Umineko fighting game with what I believe is a significant amount of plot thrown in, and it even has a slightly different ending from the visual novel. The bad news is it’s a fighting game, which means you need a certain level of skill. We’ll see how far I advance.

Day 2 began for me with the Kodansha Comics panel, featuring the audible and personable Ben Applegate and the inaudible and thus anonymous narrator, who really needs to learn to project to the back of the house. In terms of new new titles, there was one print and a pile of digital.

The print title is Golosseum, apparently spelled with the G. It’s from the author of the long and never licensed Karate Fighter Minoru manga, and runs in Kodansha’s Nemesis magazine. It’s apparently a political martial arts title, and reminded me a lot of The Legend of Koizumi – real life political figures caricatured for fun. So we have Rasputin (Russia’s greatest love machine), Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton, etc. It looks like a lot of fun.

Digital debuts, arriving as soon as next week. Lovesick Ellie is a Dessert title about a girl who likes to tweet about a made-up boyfriend. That won’t end well. My Brother Is a Shut-In is from Morning Two, something I always approve of. It seems to be about a girl whose brother, as you may have guessed, is a shut-in, but that may change soon.

Pitch-Black Ten is from Shonen Magazine R, and looks like an action fantasy; the author also did Buster Keel!. Drifting Dragons is from good! Afternoon, and seems to be the Dragon equivalent of Delicious in Dungeon – we hope you enjoy eating dragons.

Living-Room Matsunaga-san is also a Dessert title, and seems to involve a younger girl moving into a boarding house her uncle runs and meeting the college-aged residents. Lastly, we have The Prince’s Black Poison, a Betsufure title about a girl who’s taken care of her “helpless” childhood friend, but when she tries to do things away from him, he reveals himself to be far more manipulative than she guessed.

They also discussed the upcoming print release of Tokyo Tarareba Girls, as well as Sailor Moon Eternal, a re-release which looks fantastic. Lots of things coming from Kodansha, who are still putting out more digital than you can possibly keep up with.

The next panel was Yen Press, and they too had a pile of stuff to announce. They also had someone translating in sign language, which was very cool. They showed off the Pandora Box, which is one of the most impressive box sets I have ever seen. It’s simply breathtaking. And then new announcements, including one I’ve been waiting on for about a year…

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online will have the light novels out next year. These are by the Kino’s Journey author, and do not have Kirito or the main cast in them. I reviewed the first manga recently… dammit, that means my URL will have a (2) again. I hate that.

Other light novels announcements are Defeating the Demon Lord Is a Cinch (If You Have a Ringer), which I think may be a Fantasia Bunko series and is very much in the ‘fantasy world, kill monsters’ sort of genre. The best thing about it is that the artist is named ‘bob’. We also have the much-anticipated SukaMoka series, aka (deep breath) World End: What Will You Do At the End of the World? Will You Save Us?. This is apparently an emotional tearjerker of a series, and it already has a sequel in Japan.

A big surprise (to the panelists as well – apparently the license was finalized this morning) was Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile, the first in a series of Final Fantasy novels. It’s actually a short story book that has various stories taking place around the time of VII and Advent Children.

On the manga front, we see The Strange Creature at Kuroyuri Apartments, a Young Gangan title about a demon summoner’s young daughter who is ordered to entertain the landlord of an apartment complex. Tsuno no Gakuen is about boys with horns on their heads who can do magic, and our hero is self-conscious his horns are too small. Which is not a metaphor for anything, I’m sure. It runs in Young Ace Up!.

Catterpillar Girl and Bad Texter Boy is a done-in-one title from Gene Pixiv. A fantastic girl is rejected by the boy she loves, and hen vanishes… only to return as a caterpillar! It looks really cute. Teasing Master Tagaki-san was a series I’d heard of before, and I highly approve of its license. A boy is determined to tease the girl he’s friends with… but this is easier said than done, as he’s easily teased and she loves to tease him. It runs in Shogakukan’s Gessan.

Shibuya Goldfish is a horror title from Gangan Joker, and is soooooooo not my thing, but horror fans should like it. Fruits Basket Another is also licensed, and will be three volumes total. I… have mixed feelings about this, but we’ll talk about that when it comes out. There’s also a Little Witch Academia manga coming out in their new JY line for younger readers. It looks really cute and fun.

After this, I ate lunch and wandered around a bit. My final panel of the day was a panel on Japanese feminism, run by Anne Lee, who runs the website. Her goal was to show us that yes, Japanese feminism does, and did, actually exist, and I think she did a good job. She focused on four different women who made their presence known.

Raichi Hiratsuka was described as sort of the Japanese Susan B. Anthony. She started a highly influential (and controversial) literary magazine in 1911 called Saito (Bluestocking), which featured essays, poetry and short stories about “the new women”. The authors were known to (gasp!) smoke and drink, so it was not well liked by men of the time. She then tried to help get women the vote, which came close to happening in 1921, but one comment by an influential guy killed it, and she went into seclusion due to this.

Then along came Beate Sirota Gordon, an Austrian woman who grew up in Japan, went to an American college right around the time of WWII, and then got a job with the US government so she could return to Japan and find her parents. She ended up helping to rewrite the Japanese constitution… which was controversial enough, as the Americans were “helping” them write it the way that they wanted.

She researched the hell out of this, though, impressing the Americans, and added a lot of things that gave women more rights. A lot of them were cut, but some weren’t, and the Constitution passed despite the vehement objections of Japanese men. As for Raichi, she was shocked and conflicted – having this granted to her by Americans rather than fought for and won in a political victory seemed a bit hollow.

We also discussed Machiko Hasegawa, creator of Sazae-san, possibly the most famous Japanese manga ever – at least in Japan. The manga ran from 1946-1974. The anime began in 1969 and is still running, meaning it crushes the Simpsons record. Sazae-san was pretty slice of life comic strip gags, but as the series went on Sazae-san herself got involved in feminism, and the strips sometimes delved into that.

Lastly we discussed Rokudenashiko and her vagina kayak, which I was already very familiar with, as I’d seen the author’s panel at TCAF and reviewed her book here. It got into a discussion about how Japan is OK with penis festivals but gets upset with vaginas, whether this was politically motivated (she has a friend who was criticizing the government), and how the vagueness of the obscenity laws may not have helped. It was a well-researched and enjoyable panel.

And that was all I had on tap for today. I wanted to see the Fate/GO panel, but that looked to be difficult to get into. Tomorrow I only have one panel, which is Vertical. I therefore plan to take a look at Artist’s Alley in the morning, hit up the panel, and then head home. This was a great second day of the con.

Anime NYC, Day One

It’s Anime NYC weekend! I’m here to cover everything for you – at least, everything I can get to. We’re starting early, though, as I’m typing this before the con begins. That’s because Seven Seas, which is not allowed to leave California due to some agreement with a lich, I believe, has announced a giant pile of titles every day this week, including some absolute stunners.

We start with Dragon, Ie wo Kau (Dragon Goes House Hunting), which sounds absolutely hilarious based on title alone. It’s a Mag Garden title that runs in Comic Blade, and a fairly recent series. As for the premise, well, I’d hate to spoil…

Do you like sports manga? Have you been thinking “I like sports manga, but there’s not enough fanservice? Where are my girls in swimsuits”? In that case, we have Harukana Receive, a beach volleyball manga that takes place in Okinawa. It runs in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kirara Forward, and has 4 volumes to date.

I greatly enjoyed My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness when it came out earlier this year, and so am delighted to hear Seven Seas has licensed the sequel, My Solo Exchange Diary, which only comes out in Japan next month. Judging by the title, it promises to be as emotionally compelling as the previous book (exchange diaries by definition requiring another person).

I have often begged for licenses from Shogakukan’s Big Comic Superior, one of the more overlooked seinen magazines. And, well, OK, I asked for it. Now we have Wonderland, which manages to turn Alice in Wonderland into a horror thriller sort of deal, as humanity shrinks all of a sudden and has to fight to survive. The author may be best known over here for Fighting Beauty Wulong.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom has been one of J-Novel Club’s breakaway hits, so it’s no surprise that Seven Seas will be releasing it in print. Get ready to hear about Machivelli’s The Prince a lot and ask yourself “Isn’t that Saber?”.

This should not be a surprise anymore given the number of classic titles Seven Seas has announced, but it still surprised me. Space Battleship Yamoto will be coming out as one omnibus manga! From 1974, it ran in Akita Shoten’s now defunct Bouken Ou magazine, though I believe Media Factory may have the rights now. The anime version may be better known to Western fans as old as I am as Star Blazers.

Udon still has the rights to Rose of Versailles, though it’s been significantly delayed. But Seven Seas teased us with two sort-of-related titles. The first is Versailles of the Dead, combining 18th century France with zombies. It runs in Shogakukan’s Hibana, and is from the creator of After School Charisma.

And we may not have Rose of Versailles yet, but we are getting a Ryoko Ikeda title, as we have Claudine! This single volume shoujo manga is considered a pioneer in the field of LGBT manga, meaning of course that it’s going to end unhappily for all concerned, like most pioneers of LGBT manga. Claudine ran in Shueisha’s Margaret, and will be complete in one volume.

Who wanted a combination of beloved fairy tales and survival game manga? Certainly not me, but there’s definitely a market for it, and they should be delighted with Fairy Tale Battle Royale, a Kadokawa title that runs in Gene Pixiv.

If you liked The Heiress and the Chauffeur, Seven Seas has a new shoujo series by the same author (and that also ran in LaLa from Hakusensha). The Bride and the Exorcist Knight is about a young woman who attracts demons, and the boy who rescues her… and then says they should get married. The boy’s age worries me (he’s apparently 12), but we’ll see how this is handled.

The biggest surprise so far (I may have to edit this when Friday’s titles come out) is the license of the Shin Tenchi Muyo novels. These novels expand on the past of the original OAV series, with one devoted to Aeka’s family, one to Tenchi’s grandfather, and one to Washuu. (Romanization may vary depending on when you got obsessed with Tenchi Muyo). These came out in the 1990s, and were on no one’s radar, so I was stunned. But I will absolutely pick them up.

Friday brings us the final Seven Seas titles. First we have Elf-san wa Yaserarenai (Plus-Sized Elf), a comedy manga from Comic Gum. Dieting elves seem to be the comedy du jour.

Ojojojo proves that the Dragon Maid author can still get things licensed, but at least it doesn’t seem to feature monster girls. Outcast girl meets outcast boy in this 4-volume series from Takeshobo’s Manga Life.

Lastly, there is Hanayome wa Motodanshi (The Bride was a Boy), an Asuka Shinsha title about the titular bride, who was assigned male at birth but has decided to transition, and her husband who finds out about this but falls for her anyway. It’s apparently autobiographical, and should appeal to fans of My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness-style manga.

Now onto Anime NYC proper. After a bit of line wackiness (better signage was desperately needed), I got into the Exhibit Hall, grabbed a copy of Nekomonogatari Back (likely my sole purchase this weekend), and headed to the panel on Anime Fandom 15 years ago, run by Doug Wilder of

It really is startling to see how far we’ve come in that time. 15 years ago, VHS was dying and DVDs were the new thing, but they were frequently high-priced and sometimes came with a box to hold the remaining volumes… which may not always have come out if sales were really poor. Streaming was being talked about, but that’s all. It was a physical media world.

There were magazines! Animerica, Protoculture Addicts, Newtype USA. Wizard magazine devoted part of its content to anime, which makes me sad as it means I have to remember Wizard magazine. You still had Toonami and Adult Swim, but ADV Films (remember them?) was starting up The Anime Network. We had the Lupin dub! Which changed so much dialogue it could have been a different series.

There were the usual gateways. Sailor Moon, etc. Gundam Wing was HUGE at the time. I noted from the audience that it was the Gundam series that attracted a lot of female viewers. Doug also discussed other robot series like G Gundam and Battler Aura Dunbine, which tried to sell itself as being similar to Gundam Wing, which… it wasn’t.

After this nostalgic trip, I toured the show floor a bit. Spoke to Mangagamer about the delays on the Higurashi re-release (their programmer is very busy with other titles, so Tsumihoroboshi may take a few more months.) Got a hot dog, because the days when I try to power through an entire day on water are long gone. Then camped for Viz, which meant seeing Funimation Favorites, which was fun. They’re excited about the Nichijou re-release.

Viz had a lot of people at its panel, though the only panelist was Charlene Ingram, their marketing director. Most of the announcements were things that had been mentioned at prior events, such as Infini-T Force and the Homestuck print omnibuses. A lot of anime clips, which the audience appreciated. The Terra Formars one was quite violent.

A big announcement was that Viz has partnered with Pluto TV, an app that allows you to watch various titles whenever you want, including Viz titles. They were also very excited about Osomatsu-san, the very popular comedy manga that sort of came out of nowhere this past year.

On the manga front, we talked about to My Hero Academia speedup starting in 2018, as well as the Vigilantes spinoff being licensed. The one new series that they announced was That Blue Sky Feeling (Sorairo Flutter), an LGBT series that runs in Square Enix’s Gangan Joker. It’s about a boy drawn to the school outcast, who may be gay but that’s not stopping our hero getting close to him. It looks quite interesting.

After the Viz panel I went to dinner with two friends at a pub on 46th street nowhere near the con, which I always recommend when you do NYC cons – the convention center is near absolutely nothing. Fish and chips were eaten, rum and coke was drank, and a good time was had by all.

Then back to the con for the One Piece 20th anniversary panel, which had a considerable line, but everyone managed to get in. (By the way, the con had about 20,000 people, which is not bad given it’s a first-year con. The panel was run by the One Piece Podcast, and the hosts were Zach and Kelly. They oddly tried to keep it a spoiler-free con, which was increasingly difficult as the panel went on.

A lot of the events going on in Japan for the anniversary were discussed. One Piece is big business there, with shops, restaurants (one restaurant is run by a guy dressed as Sanji, who flirts with the women but is hirrible to any male customers. That sounds… a bit too accurate for my taste) and the like.

There’s an exhibit at Tokyo Tower. There’s a kabuki show, though the lead actor recently got injured. One Piece is used in tons of ads – Coke, Nippon Ham, and a ludicrous ad in appalling Engrish for a pen, ending with “THIS IS A PEN!” declaimed. (That phrase is the standard opener for Japanese kids learning English.)

The live-action One Piece is in production for North America, and few fans seem excited, even with Oda supervising it. Too many people remember Dragon Ball… and Ghost in the Shell… and Death Note. Still, hope springs eternal. Oh yes, and they also showed the 4Kids opening – a surprising number of people grooved along. I guess it didn’t kill the fandom after all!

They had a history of the One Piece anime and manga over the years after this, which got increasingly vague as we tried not to spoil. Unfortunately, I had to cut out before the panel ended, so that I could come back here and write all of this up for you.

Tomorrow brings us Kodansha, Yen, and other assorted fun things. Who’s gonna be there with me?